Brushing, flossing, and all that jazz are part of your daily routine. From the moment you wake up until the time you head off to bed you have to consider your oral health. It can be exhausting to keep up good habits, and a lot of us just end up falling into a trap of laziness and bad habits.
Even if you brush twice a day and floss in the evening you might not be getting the most out of your oral hygiene routine. Our Carmel dental team has seen plenty of cases where patients just didn’t know how to really maximize the benefits of brushing and flossing. In some cases they even end up doing damage to their teeth!
We want to help you get the best oral health you can, and all without much extra effort. Here’s a breakdown of your day and what you can do to maximize your oral health for every part of it!
First Thing In The Morning
When you wake up do you brush your teeth right away? Most of us don’t, but we need to get into the habit! We commonly think that brushing is done to get rid of food particles, and so we don’t need to brush until after we eat. That thinking is actually dangerous to your teeth and can lead to enamel damage and cavities.
We brush not to get rid of food particles, but to get rid of the stuff in our mouths that can turn those food particles into tooth-destroying acid. Plaque bacteria builds up in our mouths constantly, and it feeds on the sugars in many of the foods we eat. If you eat before you brush your teeth you’re eating with eight or more hours worth of bacteria in your mouth – more than enough to do some serious damage!
Brushing after you eat doesn’t just give bacteria a chance to damage your teeth, it’s also gives your brush a chance to do so as well! Acid attacks from plaque bacteria cause your teeth to soften enough to the point where you could scrape enamel away by brushing!
Our advice for the best morning habits: brush as soon as you get up and then use mouthwash or water to freshen up after breakfast.
Having acceptable breath is important in the working world, especially if you’re talking to clients or customers all day. Nothing’s worse than being in a meeting and stinking up the room because of something you ate during lunch – so you brush after a meal, right?
The same problem that followed eating breakfast follows eating lunch: you shouldn’t brush your teeth! Acid attacks that soften enamel last around 30 minutes, and brushing inside that window risks harming your teeth. So what should you do?
If you feel the need for a midday brushing we suggest doing it before you eat. That will keep the bacteria smell, acid production, and decay potential to a minimum. If you need to freshen your breath after you eat you could use mouthwash or water, or you could do the best thing: chew some gum sweetened with xylitol.
Xylitol is a great sugar substitute that’s actually sweeter and helps your teeth. When you chew xylitol gum you’re coating your teeth with a bacteria-resistant layer that makes it harder for them to stick to your teeth and produce acid. It’s a great way to freshen up and protect your teeth at the same time!
Getting ready for bed should always include brushing, but what about flossing? A lot of us hate to do it and avoid it as much as possible but it should really be part of your daily routine! Your brush simply can’t reach the spots between your teeth, making them some of the most vulnerable to decay and gum disease.
It only takes plaque bacteria about 24 hours to start irritating your gums, which is why you need to floss every night. The gross feeling you get on your teeth throughout the day is the same stuff that’s lurking between your teeth, so why wouldn’t you get rid of every bit that you can?
Don’t Forget Professional Care
Good oral care habits like the kind we described here need to be rounded out with twice yearly cleanings and exams too. There are some spots in your mouth that you simply can’t reach, and those spots need to be cleaned so that they don’t become harmful!